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Odisha, Sikkim, AP observe 70%, 74%, 66% voter turnout respectively

Brisk polling was recorded in Odisha Thursday with around 70 per cent of the over 60 lakh electorate casting their votes in four Lok Sabha and 28 Assembly constituencies.

Shobhit Kalra

Shobhit KalraBy Shobhit Kalra

Published on 11 April 2019 5:13 PM GMT

Odisha, Sikkim, AP observe 70%, 74%, 66% voter turnout respectively
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Odisha, Sikkim, Meghalaya, AP observe 70%, 74%, 67%, 66% voter turnout respectively
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Bhubaneswar: Brisk polling was recorded in Odisha Thursday with around 70 per cent of the over 60 lakh electorate casting their votes in four Lok Sabha and 28 Assembly constituencies.

No untoward incident was reported from any part of the state and polling for the first of four-phase of Odisha elections was undertaken peacefully, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Surendra Kumar said.

However, there were reports of poll boycott by villagers in some places over local issues, while zero polling was recorded in some Maoist-hit areas of Malkangiri district, he said. "Around half-a-dozen booths in Chitrakonda area of Malkangiri recorded "zero polling," the CEO said.

In Kalimela block of Malkangiri district, a man, who was waiting to vote outside a booth, collapsed and died, apparently due to scorching heat, a police officer said.

The man has been identified as Bhima Kabasi (45) of MPV-74 village in the district, he added.

As per reports received from the constituencies, approximately 70 per cent of the electorate has cast their votes, an official in CEO's office said.

However, the exact figure is yet to come and the turnout is expected to rise as the polling teams are on their way back, he stated.

In several Maoist-affected areas, long queues of voters were seen outside the polling stations, he said.

"Of the 28 assembly constituencies that went to polls Thursday, 20 were in Maoist-affected areas of the state.

Barring six to seven booths in Malkangiri, where no votes were polled all day, people came out in large numbers in the Maoist belts to exercise their franchise," the CEO stated.

Similarly, the election office has also received reports of "poll boycott from a couple of places", where people chose to skip voting over various local issues and demands, he said.

The CEO asserted that the election department officials have attended to all reports of technical glitches in Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) operations.

"In 7,233 EVMs, only 169 VVPAT, 62 ballot units and 65 control units had to be replaced, which is negligible. All poll personnel have undergone extensive training to attend to such glitches," he said.

Admitting that the poll process was delayed in some booths of Koraput, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur and Berhampur districts owing to the glitches, Kumar said the process, however, picked up pace after corrective measures were taken.

"For the first time in the state, 18,500 braille ballot papers were made available at the booths to aid visually impaired voters," the CEO said, adding that arrangements were also made to provide wheelchairs to the differently abled and elderly persons.

Prominent among those who voted Thursday were former union minister Chandra Sekhar Sahoo, who is the BJD candidate from Berhampur Lok Sabha seat and BJP Odisha unit president Basant Panda, also in the fray from Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat.

Congress leader and former union minister Bhakta Charan Das and BJD's Pushpendra Singhdeo, who have crossed swords in Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat, also exercised their franchise in the morning.

Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are being held simultaneously in Odisha in four phases.

Polling for the next three phases will be held on April 18, 23 and 29.

74 per cent votes polled in Sikkim

Gangtok: An estimated 74 per cent of the voters in Sikkim have exercised their franchise on Thursday to elect members of the state Legislative Assembly as well as the lone Lok Sabha MP from the state, an official said.

A total of 4,32,306 voters comprising 2,20,305 males and 2,12,001 females were eligible to exercise their franchise on Thursday. Sikkim has a 32-member Assembly.

The polling percentage will go up as large number of voters who have queued up at polling stations till 5 pm would be allowed to vote, the CEO said.

There was no report of any violence from anywhere in the state during the polling of the state Assembly and the lone Lok Sabha seat which was held simultaneously, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ravindra Telang told PTI.

Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling exercised his franchise at Namchi New Secondary School in South Sikkim's Namchi-Singhiyhang assembly seat.

A total of 150 candidates are in fray for the 32 Assembly seats, while 11 candidates are contesting for the lone Lok Sabha seat in the state.

Polling was held in 567 polling stations spread across four districts in Sikkim. As many as 39 of 567 polling stations were manned by all-women personnel.

Chamling, who is seeking an eighth successive term as an MLA, is contesting from two assembly seats - Poklok-Kamrang and Namchi-Singhithang.

Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, the working president of the Hamro Sikkim party (HSP) has entered into fray from two assembly seats as well, including the Gangtok assembly constituency, reserved for the indigenous Bhutia-Lepcha communities.

67 per cent votes polled in Meghalaya

Shillong: Over 67 per cent of the 19.14 lakh voters of Meghalaya exercised their franchise in the Lok Sabha elections on Thursday amid reports of malfunctioning of voting machines from some booths, state Chief Electoral Officer Fredrick Roy Kharkongor said.

Meghalaya has two Lok Sabha constituencies - Shillong and Tura - and polling was peaceful in both the seats, he said.

The CEO said an FIR was lodged against BJP's Shillong candidate Sanbor Shullai for talking to media persons

within the premises of a polling station when voting is on, flouting Election Commission rules.

"The poll percentage has been recorded at 67.03 per cent as per inputs received from 2,500 of the 3617 polling stations," Kharkongor said in a press conference here.

He said information is awaited from other polling stations due to various reasons including network connectivity and the voting percentage may go up after getting the final figures.

In the 2014 general election, the overall voter turnout was 68 per cent.

The turnout in Shillong constituency was registered at 63.56 per cent of 11,95,662 voters and for Tura, it is 75.60 per cent of 7,15,707 voters.

Some EVMs malfunctioned due to VVPATs but the problem was effectively resolved and polling went off smoothly, Kharkongor said.

"We have 1.86 per cent of VVPAT malfunction which is much below the pan India average at 3 per cent," he said.

Counting will he held on May 23.

Meanwhile, the CEO said a complaint has been registered under the Representative People's Act against Shullai for misconduct.

The FIR filed by the returning officer of Shillong constituency and the presiding officer concerned of Sankerdev College said the candidate addressed a group of media persons within the premises of the polling station.

Shullai told reporters that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will not be implemented in the North East as long as he is alive.

The BJP leader threatened to commit suicide if bill is implemented in the state.

66 per cent voter turnout in Arunachal Pradesh

Itanagar: An estimated 66 per cent of the voters in Arunachal Pradesh exercised their franchise on Thursday to elect members of the state Assembly and the two Lok Sabha MPs, an election official said.

Arunachal Pradesh has a total of 7,94,162 voters, including 4,01,601 women. Elections to the state Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats were held simultaneously.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer Kangki Darang said that according to reports available from the respective district election officers (DEOs) roughly 66 per cent voting was recorded in the state till 5 pm.

"Reports from several remote polling booths are yet to be received by this office and even in some polling stations polling is continuing, so the polling percentage will increase," Darang said.

He said that barring a few sporadic incidents of violence and damage of EVM, the polling was by and large peaceful in the state.

Three persons were seriously injured at Pipsorang circle under Tali assembly constituency in Kurung Kumey district after clash took place between supporters of two rival political parties, DGP S B K Singh said.

The injured have been immediately evacuated to Itanagar by a chopper requisitioned by the district administration, the DGP added.

Darang said that as per available reports, polling in 133 booths could not be conducted due to various reasons like damage of EVMs and malfunctioning of voting machines where re-polling would be held.

"Re-polling will be done only after recommendations of the respective district election officers which will be forwarded to the Election Commission and accordingly the Commission will decide," Darang disclosed.

The additional CEO informed that so far total unaccounted cash seized by the police and Election Commission appointed Static Surveillance Teams and the Flying Squads in the state amounted to over six crore.

A polling official died while performing duty in Tirap district, he said.

Tenak Socia polling officer at Upper Primary School polling station under Khonsa West Assembly seat died due to cardiac arrest while performing duty, the additional chief electoral officer told reporters here.

Socia was a work inspector in the Water Resources department.

Terming the incident as unfortunate, Darang said that as per the laid down rules, the Commission would pay minimum ex-gratia of Rs 15 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased

"Liquor worth 1.97 crore were also seized and destroyed in the state," he added.

A total of 45 companies of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPF) comprising ITBP, CRPF, IRBn and SSB along with over seven thousand state civil police personnel have been deployed.

There are 2,202 polling stations spread across the state out of which, 281 were identified as vulnerable and 662 as critical polling stations.

This time, there were also 11 polling stations exclusively for women.

The ruling BJP had already opened its account in the assembly polls by winning three seats unopposed.

The winners are Kento Jini from Along East constituency in West Siang district, Taba Tedir from Yachuli seat in Lower Subansiri district and Phurpa Tsering from Dirang seat in West Kameng district.

The BJP has fielded candidates in all the remaining 57 assembly seats while Congress is contesting in 46 seats, the NPP in 30 seats, JD(U) in 15 constituencies, JD(S) in 12 and PPA nine.

(PTI)

Shobhit Kalra

Shobhit Kalra

Writer has 10 years of experience in digital media. Presently working as Chief Sub Editor at newstrack.com. An avid reader and always willing to learn new things and techniques.

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